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ISLAM UNDER FIRST FOUR CALIPHS   35
fixed to their lances, and crying out: " The law of the
Lord ! Let that decide between us !" Ali, realizing
that^ it was only a ruse, would not stop the conflict, but
his fanatical soldiers threatened to desert him unless he
agreed to appoint an arbitrator. Even in this his hand
was forced, since he was not allowed a free choice, but was
compelled to place his interests in the hands of Abu
Musa, a supporter who was at best but lukewarm.
The Arbitration^ A.H. 37 (658).—Duma in the heart of
the desert was the place appointed for the momentous
decision, and thither Amr, the conqueror of Egypt, who
represented Muavia, and Abu Musa both proceeded,
followed by thousands of Arabs from both sides who
assembled to hear the judgment. The two umpires
agreed in private that both Ali and Muavia should be set
aside and a fresh election held. Abu Musa gave this
decision in public, but the astute Amr, who spoke after
him, declared that he agreed to the deposition of Ali but
confirmed Muavia as the heir of Othman, the avenger of
his blood, and the best entitled to succeed as Caliph.
This was an astonishing success for Muavia, who was
proclaimed Caliph at Damascus, and a heavy blow for Ali,
whose supporters, however, did not counsel him to resign
the Caliphate.
The Kharijites.—Though destined after lapse of time
to be revered as the equal of Mohamed by the Persian
nation, Ali was most unfortunate during his life. No
sooner had he been obliged, much against his own
judgment, to accept arbitration than 12,000 of his
soldiers separated themselves from the army on the
ground that the cause of Islam had been abandoned to
godless arbitrators, swearing that they would serve no
Caliph, and insisting on " No rule but that of the Lord
alone*" Ali showed considerable patience, but before
setting out after the arbitrament to attack Muavia, he
was forced to deal with these fanatical sectaries, who
were committing horrible excesses of every kind. The
majority were allowed ^to disperse, but 1800 refused all
terms and were killed to a man. The Kharijites or
" Separatists " appeared again and again, not only in Irak